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Northern Ireland, Brexit and Biden: A Dangerous Mix

Joe Biden is a Europe supporter, and a claimant of Irish heritage: he is not in favour of Brexit, so what are the implications of this when we consider Irish borders?

Joe Biden won the US election-we of course already knew that 3 weeks ago, but it can sometimes take weeks for all votes to be officially counted. And then there was the issue of Trump and his re-counts, of which have all been disputed-by each county he accused of needing a re-count. Pennsylvania has also thrown out the accusations made by the Republican party.

As it stands, this is the map of the United States. Wisconsin, Arizona and Pennsylvania are still to call a 100% vote count.

And the senate majority is yet to be known; Joe Biden will need to win Democrat in the house and the senate if he wants to enact key policies. Currently, he has won the House of Representatives, but the senate is yet to be called.

I found understanding all of this, an extra burden. If understanding the electoral college itself was not hard enough, put the Senate and House of Representatives in the mix.

Whatever way we look at it-Joe Biden has won the US election and at least internationally, if not domestically: he will be of major influence. And this has implications in particular for Britain and Ireland. Britain is in the middle of trying to negotiate a free-trade deal with Europe, which means the UK could continue to deal freely with the rest of Europe and vice versa.

What Is the Issue Between Britain and the EU?

Yet, a no-trade deal could spell trouble. And the trouble is complicated when it involves negotiations of fishing trade rights, and the EU demanding 50% of our fish. This is what they want, to agree to a free-trade deal. The fishing debacle will be the sorest point for the EU, who have fished heavily in British waters, and this was the most tender point of contention for British fishermen.

Indeed, why should the EU be allowed 50% of our catch when we are no longer part of the EU?! But this is complicated, and not as simple as it seems. The point is, the EU will lose out big time by no longer having British fishing rights. And this was one of the main reasons people voted to leave Europe. Frankly, I am happy to have our own waters back! And we still have to negotiate it! 

Fishing Is Not The Only Border Problem Facing Brexit

But fishing borders are not the only border issue-physical border problems are also seriously pressing. There is currently no border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland, but with the United Kingdom leaving Europe-this is greatly being put under the harsh headlight. It raises the question, or even insists upon a border being put in place, between Northern Ireland and Ireland. 

The Good Friday Agreement however, made back in the 1990’s, meant there was never to be a border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland. The agreement ended the troubles in Northern Ireland, and paved the way for a new structure of government and infrastructure. Along comes Joe Biden…who is a self-confessed Europe supporter, and re-emphasises the importance of that very deal.

Can We Leave Europe And Still Have No Irish Border?

Joe Biden, who apparently has Irish heritage, has said there will be implications for trade between the United States and the United Kingdom if a border is put in place. We have always had a ‘special relationship’ with the United States-whatever that means, and Biden has threatened that. Of course Britain leaving Europe changes things-on many levels, and of course the Irish border comes into question. The last remains of the border were only just removed in 2005. Prior to The Good Friday Agreement, there was a border.

However, Northern Ireland is still part of the United Kingdom and The Republic of Ireland is not. In any other situation, there would be a border, but both countries prior to Brexit remained separate; and still managed to keep an open border.

Why Should We Have To Put One In Now?

In my opinion, there is no need. And it would be dangerous to even question such a powerful and generational forming negotiation. The Good Friday Agreement meant peace could begin to form and free travel, trade and association could remain for all of Northern Ireland’s residents-no matter their religious and political affiliation. To allow this to continue is imperative, and something that cannot be disputed with-as strong as Aslan’s word I dare say. I am concerned this has even been brought up.

Why Would Boris Fight For a Border?

I’m not sure Boris is in the ‘fighting position’ per-say, but I think the worry is-if no border is put up between Northern Ireland and Ireland: it could lead to a no-deal Brexit. The EU might use it to claim passage and trade is too free, but I would argue they may risk their own relationship to the ROI; if they choose to take that stand.